Baidu's IQiyi in Talks With Google Amid Content Partnership Push

IQiyi, China’s most popular Netflix-style streaming video service, is looking to sign partnerships with Google and other global players as it seeks to lure content and hardware providers onto its service.

IQiyi is offering to share more data and revenue with partners to bolster its platform, said Duan Youqiao, a senior vice president and head of its virtual reality business. A deal with Google would be unusual given iQiyi is controlled by Baidu Inc., China’s biggest search engine.

The renewed push for content comes as iQiyi and its parent square off against cashed-up rivals Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which have committed to pouring billions of dollars into competing streaming video services.

“We’re always in communication with Google over their technology and platforms but at the moment we haven’t signed an agreement,” Duan said. “We’re currently in talks.”

Duan spoke during iQiyi Technology and Entertainment World - an annual event where the company courts content partners and advertisers. Other speakers included Baidu’s new group president Qi Lu and Google Spotlight Stories tech lead Rachid El Guerrab. The Google program produces content for virtual reality.

Baidu’s Lu gave a speech that talked about the company’s strengths in artificial intelligence and its digital assistant, DuerOS.

Selected content partners would get detailed demographic data, ranging from the inferred age and gender of a viewer to the scenes and actors they’d skipped, iQiyi Chief Executive Officer Gong Yu said. Such a move would help content providers create more popular shows that generate higher revenue.

Many of the Google services that are relied on to distribute content, such as YouTube, remain blocked in China, reducing its ability to expand in the country.

— With assistance by David Ramli

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